Florida Crystals Employees Mark Arbor Day by Planting Trees
BELLE GLADE, Fla. — A Florida sugarcane farm is working to be the most sustainable in the United States.
Florida Crystals’ commitment to large-scale renewable energy production began in the early 1990s. The company grows most of its sugarcane in Belle Glade, Florida, and went from about 4,000 acres in the 1960s to now 190,000.
To help in their sustainable farming and operations for decades to come, the company implements certain practices to better treat their land that would in turn save money. Some investments included technology, animals, planting other crops and using leftover biomass to convert it into electricity.
To date, they are growing 10,000 acres of the only organic raw sugarcane grown in the U.S.
“We have to be sustainable in every aspect of the process,” said Diego Luzuriaga, Florida Crystals’ vice president of research and development. “What do we do to be good stewards of the land, the water and all the resources that we have, and to be able to produce food while respecting everything that we have around us?”
Sugarcane is a C4 plant, and there’s only 3% of the species that are the most efficient in doing photosynthesis and capturing carbon.
“For us, being sustainable is critical. And we do it throughout the farm and the operation. Not only that, we’re working with one of the more sustainable crops in the plant kingdom,” Luzuriaga said.
Being a C4 plant means that during the plant’s photosynthesis, there are four carbon compounds that are produced which helps with its energy-saving mechanisms.